A simple breakfast date or dessert date can become much more complicated when dietary restrictions are involved.
For those who don't consume meat, dairy products or animal products, consider these options for your next food-centric date. We've even provided ideas of what to do after the eating.
Swan Street Diner, 700 Swan St.
The old-school Larkinville diner isn't known as a vegan spot; the menu still has Western omelets and sausage breakfast poutine. However, the diner
pays close attention to vegan and vegetarian diners, offering a few clearly labeled vegan options, denoted by a (V) on the menu. Vegans can trust the seasonal waffle, served with New York maple syrup, tofu scramble with home fries and toast, and oatmeal with brown sugar and fruit. Options expand for vegetarians to include omelets, pancakes, French toast and breakfast tacos.
Then... After a breakfast eaten in a location straight out of "Riverdale" (or "Back to the Future?" "Pulp Fiction?"), head to the Larkin Square pickleball courts (745 Seneca St.) for a game of the hybrid sport that you probably haven't played since gym class. Paddles and balls are free to use on weekdays and during public Larkin Square events.
House of Hummus, 1150 Hertel Ave.
The menu at this Palestinian restaurant is loaded with vegan dishes beyond the norm. There's the tabouleh salad, falafel veggie burger and za'atar (a condiment made out of thyme, sumac and olive oil), served over warm pita. Order hummus or the baba ganoush for more reasons than the fact that it is fun to say.
Then... Hertel Avenue looks a lot different today than even a few years ago. One of the relatively recent additions is Purrfect Cat Cafe (1507 Hertel Ave.). It's all in the name. It's a cafe with cats. After you fill your stomach with chickpeas of different forms, burn off the energy by running around with Buffalo's beloved cats.
Coffee and snacks
Grindhaus Cafe, 160 Allen St.
We know it's only a coffee date. It's casual. For a drink, order the basil lemonade. It's sweet and sugary while remaining tart. For a snack, try the faux tuna sandwich with mock tuna salad, carrots, relish, lettuce and house-made vegan mayo, or a classic avocado toast, which is made into a beautiful flower with house-made sriracha aioli.
Then... gallery hop around Allentown. Depending on which time and day you go for coffee, you might have to call a few galleries to see if they're open. Check out Buen Vivir Gallery for Contemporary Art, Indigo, Pine Apple Company, Paint the Town and Buffalo Big Print.
Root & Bloom, 423 Elmwood Ave.
You won't find meat or dairy on Root & Bloom's menu. As Buffalo's first entirely plant-based restaurant, opened last summer, this is the place to go if you want goat cheese made out of cashews, nachos with faux meat and cultured queso or a chocolate peanut butter milkshake that is not made with milk or ice cream. Its cutesy interior, both inside and out on its large back patio, is colored in shades of cream and millennial pink; succulents hang from macrame baskets.
Then... go for a walk around Hoyt Lake. Just a couple of miles down Elmwood Avenue, the walking path around Hoyt Lake loops around the water, with plenty of spots under weeping willow trees to rest for a romantic interlude.
The Dapper Goose, 491 Amherst St.
For a few small plates and cocktails, The Dapper Goose has some healthy, vegan options. Try the grilled broccoli, served with smoked grapes and romesco sauce, or the mushrooms with hummus, red pepper puree, hazelnuts and rye bread crumbs.
Then... Go swing dancing at the Polish Cadet Hall (927 Grant St.). On Tuesday evenings, Swing Buffalo holds drop-in beginner swing dancing lessons at 7:45 p.m. upstairs in the hall, then dancing from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Admission is $5. If you already know how to swing, take one of the advanced classes at 7 p.m.
Jerk's Soda Fountain and Ice Cream, 523 Main St.
Thought went into offering distinctive vegan flavors of Jerk's Soda Fountain's vegan ice. Take, for example, a colada noir, which is pina colada flavored ice cream with activated charcoal, a strawberry flavor made with fruit and a chocolate flavor, sweetened with chocolate sauce and cocoa powder. All ice creams are made with coconut milk, cream of coconut, high fructose corn syrup, extract and a non-dairy whip base with soy.
Then... see live music, spanning several genres, nearby at The Tralf Music Hall, Town Ballroom, Mohawk Place, Babeville or the Historic Colored Musicians Club.